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Update on MidWest America FCU's 7.01% Reward Checking Account

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MidWest America Federal Credit Union
Update 10/01/08: The yield has fallen to 6.31% APY.

MidWest America Federal Credit Union continues to offer the nation's highest yield reward checking account. The yield is 7.01% APY for balances up to $25,000. This yield has been maintained since my first post of this credit union on February 3rd.

Last week the commenter cjdtech noted that in the credit union's field of membership page it included the following organization: Allen County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) [Employees, Volunteers & Members].

Since there has been many cases in the past in which a credit union's membership page incorrectly includes members of an organization as eligible, I sent an email to confirm. I specifically asked them to confirm if members in addition to employees and volunteers of the Allen County SPCA qualify for credit union membership. I also asked if membership and the reward checking account can be opened by mail. Here is the response:
Yes you are correct, either by volunteering or being employed with the SPCA will qualify you for membership.

There is an online Application for membership along with other printable forms such as A.R.T and CUA which is necessary to signup for if opening the Reward Checking.

You may do all this by mail, however your signature will need to be notarized. Also copies of your drivers license and social security card will need to accompany the membership application.

You will also need to send in the $5.00 Share deposit for the membership with MidWest America FCU which will remain on hold in the account until such a time you choose to close the account.

Yes the reward checking may also be opened by mail.

There have also been cases in the past where customer service reps have been wrong or the management decides to change the qualification. But until I hear otherwise, I'm including this reward checking account as available nationwide. It's now on my nationwide reward checking account list.

Update 7/18/08: A reader has received further confirmation that SPCA membership can qualify you for credit union membership. Please refer to the reader's comment.

Here's the Allen County SPCA website. An individual membership costs $25, and it can be done online with payment via PayPal or a major credit card. In the credit union membership's page it states "Once you have become a member, you are a member for life!" As is common with all credit unions, once you qualify for membership via an association, you don't have to remain a member of that association to retain credit union membership.

If you have a 6% reward checking account now, the extra 1% for a $25K deposit would result in an extra $250 per year. However, this assumes they'll keep the 7%. It has some history, but there doesn't seem to be any guarantee for the rate to last. Like any checking account, the rate can change at any time.

For the full review of this credit union and reward checking account, please refer to my February post.

Other Reward Checking Accounts

To find reward checking accounts in other areas of the nation or to learn more about these accounts, please refer to my High Yield Checking website.
  Tags: MidWest America Federal Credit Union, checking account

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Comments
24 comments.
Comment #1 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
You specifically asked whether membership in SPCA was sufficient to qualify for CU membership.

The response only said that either employment or volunteering qualifies you for membership.

So, I'm still confused as to whether just joining SPCA qualifies you for CU membership.

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Comment #2 by Banking Guy (anonymous) posted on
Banking Guy
Yes, I wish the CSR was clearer. She did start off with a yes to my question "are members in addition to employees and volunteers eligible." From a credit union membership point of view, there may not be a difference between volunteers and members. But if anyone can receive clarification and confirmation on this, it would be appreciated. Even though it does say members in the field of membership page, you can't always be sure that this matches what's in their official charter or how management chooses to interpret their official charter.

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Comment #3 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Another membership source may be WFWA TV39 PBS.

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Comment #4 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
What makes you think PBS will work?

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Comment #5 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Since WFWA allows any one to be a member just by paying $36(senior) or $40.

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Comment #6 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
It's true WFWA "membership" might work. All this really means is that you send them money. Trouble is, if you send them money just one time you will have a "friend" for the remainder of your life. And this "friend" will be pestering you to contribute more money on a continuous basis. It's a decision each potential "member" needs to weigh carefully.

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Comment #7 by Banking Guy (anonymous) posted on
Banking Guy
Are you sure members of WFWA TV39 PBS qualify and not just employees? Unlike the SPCA, there's no mention of members.

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Comment #8 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I got this from their FAQ page: "Dividends will be calculated using the daily balance method. Interest is compounded monthly and will be credited to your account every month." Other reward checking accounts compound interest daily and pay monthly. So, the difference between a 6.01% account compounded daily and a 7.01% account compounded monthly may not be worth the effort to open this account.

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Comment #9 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
APY = Annual Percentage Yield. So the difference between 6% APY and 7% APY with $25K over 1 year is $250.

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Comment #10 by glxpass (anonymous) posted on
glxpass
Question: Given 6.01% APY compounded daily, and 6.01% APY compounded monthly, and given the same starting balance, at the end of the year, which one earns the most interest?

I hope that this question is equivalent to: "Who's buried in Grant's tomb?" :-)

So, whether you compound monthly or daily, the accumulated interest amounts over the course of the year are going be very, very close.

For all practical purposes, you could therefore use daily compounding on a compound interest calculator (just find out the daily interest rate) to find out the interest earned on your account at any given time, or at least a very close approximation.

This means that trying to compare daily compounding on 6.01% APY to monthly compounding on 7.01% APY is like comparing daily compounding on both rates. The 1% difference between APY's is far more significant than the minuscule difference between daily and monthly compounding. Or so I'd think.

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Comment #11 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I am from Houston and filled out the form on line. Talked with CSR and was told a packet will be sent to me including info to contribute $20 to an animal type program and then become a member. Will find out next week when I get the packet.

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Comment #12 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
"I hope that this question is equivalent to: "Who's buried in Grant's tomb?"

The correct answer is "No one is buried at Grant's tomb."

Grant's tomb is a mausoleum, so the bodies are entombed above ground.

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Comment #13 by glxpass (anonymous) posted on
glxpass
Sorry, anonymous at 6:11 am today, 7/18, but "Who's entombed in Grant's tomb?" doesn't have the same ring to it. And to take this even more OT (I appreciate your info though), here's what the Merriam-Webster Online Thesaurus has to say about bury:

1 to place (a dead body) in the earth, a tomb, or the sea [he died on Tuesday and was buried on Friday]
Synonyms entomb, inter


I stand by the joke. :)

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Comment #14 by bob (anonymous) posted on
bob
Cant we just say we worship in their county ?

Its none of their business exactly where or how often.

Cheaper than a $25 fee.

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Comment #15 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I just contacted the Customer Service department via e-mail, and here was their response:

Q: Your field of membership page lists "SPCA (Allen County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) [Employees, Volunteers & Members]" as one of the organizations that qualifies for credit union membership.? Based on this information, does my status as a paid Member of Allen County SPCA (not a Volunteer or Employee) qualify me for credit union membership?

A: Yes you would qualify for membership with MidWest America by being a paid member of Allen County SPCA, it is stated next to the employees and volunteers that members are also eligible.

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Comment #16 by Banking Guy (anonymous) posted on
Banking Guy
Thanks for confirming this.

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Comment #17 by glxpass (anonymous) posted on
glxpass
Bob at 7:46am said:

Cant we just say we worship in their county ?

Its none of their business exactly where or how often.

Cheaper than a $25 fee.


Why lie? The SPCA is a good cause, and you're greating a great rate for however long it lasts. It might even be tax deductible. You really don't need the $25 that badly, do you? :)

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Comment #18 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I opened my account by joining the SPCA a month or two ago & have had no trouble & have been enjoying earning the interest with them ever since.

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Comment #19 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Oh, and as a quasi-random aside for those concerned about privacy, if you do join the SPCA, they will publish your name as a new member/contributor--which makes you come up in google searches.

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Comment #20 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Banking Guy, how does MidWest America FCU--or any other CU for that matter--actually verify your qualification status? That is to ask, how would MidWest America FCU actually know if I am a member or not of SPCA? Do they actually call up SPCA to verify? In looking over their application form, all it asks is "How do you qualify for membership?" Ostensibly, couldn't someone withOUT SPCA membership just state that they are a member? How would MidWest American know otherwise?

Don't get me wrong. I'm NOT advocating anyone lie to obtain membership. I'm simply asking how CUs in general verify applicants qualification statuses.

Thanks for your comments.

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Comment #21 by Atlanta Wolf (anonymous) posted on
Atlanta Wolf
How do they verify membership? I've had one credit union ask me to include my "friends of the library" receipt with my initial deposit, the other I had to fax in a copy of my paycheck. The third I qualified by being a resident of the county and my driver's license was already included with my application, so I assume I've had 3 out of 3 verify my eligibility. I'm not saying all credit unions do, but initial thoughts are they do request you submit "proof".

I feel good about contributing to a worthy cause, so if everyone wins (me, MWAFCU, SPCA), I can't complain.

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Comment #22 by Jessica Mione (anonymous) posted on
Jessica Mione
Whatever you do, don't get Wachovia. They are by far the worst bank I've ever had my whole life. Their automated system doesn't work, their website never works and their transactions take over 30 days to post! Also, they don't treat their new customers with respect and they put hold's on your checks if you haven't been with them for 6 months! Ridiculous!

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Comment #23 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Regarding compounding--due to the Truth in Savings regulation, all financial institution quote APYs, or annual percentage YIELD. This is all you need to compare. This makes it apples to apples or dollars to dollars.

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Comment #24 by Atlanta Wolf (anonymous) posted on
Atlanta Wolf
Midwest Reward rate changed to 6.31%

Sorry folks!

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